Stephen Mangongo: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Stephen Mangongo is warily hunting the Bengal tigers on their home turf.

What he said:

“They are called the tigers, which is a tough animal; you mess around with a tiger, it kills you. We have to respect tigers, especially in their own forest.”

It is the battle of the minnows of Test cricket; Zimbabwe tour Bangladesh playing three Tests and five ODIs.

Although the South African nation has a winning record against the South East Asian country, their coach Stephen Mangongo is unwilling to underestimate their capabilities.

The Zimbabwean side are visiting abroad for only the third time since their return to Test cricket three years ago.

What he really meant:

 “I don’t care what the Bangladeshis are elsewhere; at home, they are a handful. Tigers at home are dangerous indeed.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“The Zimbabwean cricket squad wholeheartedly supports the WWF campaign: ‘Save Tigers Now.'”

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Geoff Marsh: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Geoff Marsh keeps it all in the family with a hat-trick of baggy green caps.

What he said:

Speak to my wife, we should have kept going!

Geoff Marsh is pleased as punch to present the baggy green cap to his second son, Mitch, who made his debut for Australia against Pakistan in the first Test at Dubai on the 22nd of October.

Marsh’s elder son, Shaun, was bestowed the honour by his father in 2011.

Marsh said:

“It was quite tough, really. It was a real honour to be asked to do it. It was just pleasing, more pleasing that he’s got the opportunity to play Test cricket.

I’m pleased for both my boys. They followed me around while I was playing Test cricket and coaching Australia. Deep down you could see it in their eyes they wanted to follow in those footsteps and now they’ve both been given that opportunity. Hopefully there’s a lot of cricket left in them.”

On Michael Clarke’s assertion that Mitch could be a future captain:

“It’s nice to hear the Australian captain say things like that.I said to Mitch you’ve just got to take every day in Test cricket one day at a time. Test cricket puts out a lot of challenges, you’ve got to meet those challenges and you only do that through good focus and concentration and working hard.

He’s only a young boy. He thinks about the game a lot. We’ll just wait and see. He’s got to get through a lot of hurdles. He’s only young, hopefully he can just perform well and consistent and see what happens after that.”

What Geoff Marsh really meant:

“It would have been even better if  the Australian side were simply a Marsh XI.”

What he definitely didn’t:

 “Hindsight is eleven-eleven.”

Richard Ayoade: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Richard Ayoade breaks up Andy Murray.

What he said:

“I am attracted to you, but I don’t like you.”

Andy Murray and Richard Ayoade screened contenders for ‘Andy Murray: The Movie’ in a skit for Stand Up To Cancer, Channel 4’s charity drive. The tennis player was the “executive consultant producer of casting”.

Tim Henman was informed by the Scot that he was “flat, dull and unengaging – exactly what we are looking for” and that he had made the final two. Murray complained that he had never made the final two to which Ayoade rejoined, “The nation knows that.”

The merry show continued.

At one point, Murray said (to Ayoade), “I don’t like you.”

Ayoade responded: “I am attracted to you, but I don’t like you.”

What he really meant:

“In other words: Fatal attraction.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“What a Mills and Boons truism.”






Andrew Haldane: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Andrew Haldane is a front-foot proponent of back-foot play.

What he said:

“Three months on, it is time to update the batting averages. Ian Bell’s batting average has remained at 45 – the front foot recovery has remained on track. But over the same period, Joe Root’s has risen to 51. Cricket statisticians and financial markets are agreed. While still a close run thing, the statistics now appear to favour the back foot.”

Andrew Haldane, chief economist of the Bank of England, appears to obfuscate while outlining the UK’s monetary policy outlook for the coming year.

He said:

“In June, when evaluating the UK’s monetary stance, I used the metaphor of a batsmen in cricket deciding whether to play off the front foot (raise rates) or the back foot (hold rates). And I compared the averages of two English batsmen, one who played from the front foot (Ian Bell), the other from the back (Joe Root), to illustrate the dilemma. At the time, Ian Bell averaged 45 to Joe Root’s 43. In other words, while it was a close run thing, the data narrowly favoured the front foot. Cricketing statistics are not the sole basis for my views on the appropriate stance for UK monetary policy. Nonetheless, on balance, I felt the same front-foot judgement was appropriate for UK interest rates at the time.”

English: Joe Root makes his Yorkshire debut at...
English: Joe Root makes his Yorkshire debut at Headingley, against the Essex Eagles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He added:

“On balance, my judgement on the macro-economy has shifted the same way. I have tended to view the economy through a bi-modal lens. And recent evidence, in the UK and globally, has shifted my probability distribution towards the lower tail. Put in rather plainer English, I am gloomier. That reflects the mark-down in global growth, heightened geo-political and financial risks and the weak pipeline of inflationary pressures from wages internally and commodity prices externally. Taken together, this implies interest rates could remain lower for longer, certainly than I had expected three months ago, without endangering the inflation target.”

What he really meant:

“I follow cricket and its related statistics with as much interest as the economy. Maybe, it will help enliven my dry speech and perhaps have you wondering what in heavens am I meandering about so much so that you will ignore the gravity of the message conveyed. You see, I’m on the defensive and can only hope (unlike Joe Root) that things will work out for the British economy from here. This way I can backtrack on whatever I say should things turn worse and if things get better, it’ll simply be a case of ‘I told you so, didn’t I?'”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I’ll be catching up on the cricket this winter and next summer. Haven’t you received my memo? My arm-chair coaching should certainly help England regain the Ashes.”


Jose Mourinho: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Jose Mourinho is no pushover when push comes to shove.

What he said:

“Charged? Charged? If it was me, it would have been a stadium ban.”

Jose Mourinho vents his ire at Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger, claiming that if he had been the aggressor he would have been severely penalized.

The Chelsea boss was involved in a confrontation with the Frenchman when the two sides played each other at Stamford Bridge earlier this month.

Mourinho said:

“I gave you my reaction after the match, saying nothing had happened. The reaction from everyone else was saying nothing had happened. Am I surprised he wasn’t punished? I’m not surprised. I’m not surprised. Charged? Charged? If it was me, it would have been a stadium ban.

What he really meant:

“History’s not on my side when it comes to fracases. I may be the Chosen One in more ways than one.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I have a persecution complex.”

Jose Mourinho: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Jose Mourinho projects his expectations from his players.

What he said:

“The same thing as ‘a project’. The project has to be flexible. The project is never the same from when we start to when we end. It’s like at my house. You change, I don’t like this door, you change. The windows.”

Jose Mourinho compares his footballing strategy to a project. He believes that players and tactics have to be flexible and adaptable.

Mourinho said:

“I prefer my team to press in a low block, but if the opponent prefers to build from the back, and they are fantastic, it gives them huge stability in their game – I’m going to press there. Liverpool wanted to play with Suarez behind the defenders, Sterling the same thing, and Steven Gerrard in front of the defenders. So I go there, I play Lampard on Stevie G, I play my block completely low. I win. And I’m criticised because I [am not allowed to] play that way. So I am the stupid one. I’m not fundamentalist. And I think some people in football are becoming a bit fundamentalist.”

What he really meant:

 “Just like the scope of a project changes with every iteration, the way my team plays depends on the opponent’s style of play. I adapt to the situation accordingly. I am not rigid.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Of course, I have to keep my stakeholders and especially my sponsor happy. And did I mention that I can always jettison players when the transfer window comes around? That’s how flexible I really am.”

Ian Chappell: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

English: Image of Australian cricketer Ian Cha...
English: Image of Australian cricketer Ian Chappell. Courtesy of the National Archive of Australia. The NAA has given permission for the image to be used under the GDFL license. Confirmation of this permission has been sent to the OTRS system. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ian Chappell raises his index finger to doctored pitches and biased adjudicating.

What he said:

“The players need to be careful where tit-for-tat pitch preparation might lead.'”

Ian Chappell is not keen on cricketers’ insistence on having wickets that suit them in home series. The former Australian skipper was responding to Shane Watson’s desire for bouncy pitches in the upcoming series against India.

Shane Watson
Shane Watson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Watson said:

“We are hopeful that the groundsmen are going to make the grounds very conducive to what we do, because in India they certainly make sure the conditions are favourable to them.”

Chappell, writing in his column, commented:

“I was reminded of two things when I read that quote. The first was a story told by Tony Greig about playing first-class cricket in South Africa.

It was at a time when umpires were appointed by the local association and the standard had dipped alarmingly. Greig described how the Western Province players would tell their local umpires to ‘send off’ the Transvaal batsmen because that was the treatment they received when playing in Johannesburg. In the end the situation became so dire the players declared a moratorium and agreed to ‘walk’ when they knew they were out.

That situation didn’t last long and soon chaos reigned.

The other was a comment concerning players who decide an umpire is either weak or incompetent and the team agrees to ‘appeal for everything’. Those teams are often the first to complain when the umpiring in a match is below standard. Hence the often-heard and eminently true comment: ‘Beware you don’t get the umpiring you deserve.’

The same could apply to pitches if players are going to start demanding retribution from the home curators.”

Chappell added:

“I’d go one step further and say that as captain, if I’d asked any Australian curator for a certain type of pitch, the answer would have been: ‘Get stuffed. I’ll prepare the pitch, you play on it.'”

What he really meant:

“Tit-for-tat reactions will create a dysfunctional relationship and ruin the ethos of the sport. It also breeds one-dimensional cricketers who cannot adapt to different situations and conditions. It’s  not going to produce great cricketers, but home-grown bully boys.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“How about a tit for two tats instead? Also, you ought to keep in mind that if Team India fold in three days or less, Cricket Australia will lose out on all that gate money and television revenue.”

Shamil Tarpischev: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Shamil Tarpischev is de-fined by his misogyny.

What he said:

“Williams brothers…Look at our athletes–elegant and beautiful. I have tremendous respect for them [Williams sisters], but once one of the sisters passed next to me, and I found myself in her shadow for about forty seconds. They are so physically powerful. Weren’t you afraid to play against them?” 

Venus Williams playing World Team Tennis in Ma...
Venus Williams playing World Team Tennis in Mamaroneck, NY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev made a hash of a television show referring to the William sisters, Venus and Serena, as men casting aspersions on their beauty, style of play and domination of women’s tennis in a single disparaging remark.

Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) CEO Stacey Allaster responded harshly to Tarpischev’s provocative comments with a $25,000 fine. Tarpischev has also been suspended from any involvement with the WTA for a year.

Allaster’s full statement:

“The statements made by Shamil Tarpischev on Russian television with respect to two of the greatest athletes in the history of women’s tennis are insulting, demeaning and have absolutely no place in our sport. Serena Williams and Venus Williams are champions on and off the court – outstanding human beings, incredible sportswomen and amazing role models who have done so much to inspire women and girls around the world to achieve their dreams.

The WTA was founded on the principles of equality, opportunity and respect, and Venus and Serena embody all of these attributes. Mr. Tarpischev’s statement questioning their gender tarnishes our great game and two of our champions. His derogatory remarks deserve to be condemned and he will be sanctioned.

As a result of his comments, I have ordered Mr. Tarpischev to be fined $25,000, the maximum allowed under WTA rules. In addition, he will be suspended from any involvement with the WTA for one year and we are seeking his removal from his position as Chairman of the Board of the Kremlin Cup for one year. His re-instatement will be dependent on good behavior. Mr. Tarpischev’s private letter of acknowledgement is a start. However, Mr. Tarpischev owes Venus and Serena Williams a personal apology, as well as other players and tennis fans everywhere, a public apology.”

What Shamil Tarpischev really meant:

“I really don’t like powerful women especially when they can beat the socks out of me (and everybody else) at tennis.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“How about a Bobby Riggs type of match-up, Williamses?”

Serena Williams at the 2008 WTA Tour Championships
Serena Williams at the 2008 WTA Tour Championships (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Ijaz Butt: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Ijaz Butt has a seaside catch in Shahid Afridi.

What he said:

“Misbah is an innocent captain, if someone else given the statement over captaincy, he will be thrown in the sea.”

Ijaz Butt renews his feud with Shahid Afridi taking umbrage at the all-rounder’s statements about Misbah-ul-Haq’s captaincy. The remarks sparked speculation that the 40-year-old will step down as skipper for the World Cup given his recent run of low scores.

Afridi said:

“Every captain has his own approach and I can’t be Misbah and Misbah can’t be Afridi. If he is comfortable with his approach then what is the problem? But players around him should not become Misbah. Each player has his own strengths and he should carry out what he is capable of rather than suppressing himself.

If he [Misbah] is winning matches with his approach then what is the problem? I am different and have an aggressive nature. I love to play aggressive cricket because people in my country are aggressive, my players are aggressive and I want them to play aggressive cricket. I love watching them playing aggressive in the field. I know when they play aggressive cricket, they are expressing themselves.”

Shahid Afridi during Pakistan's tour of New Ze...
Shahid Afridi during Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand in December 2010. Scorecard. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He added:

“Earlier, the time and the atmosphere was different after the spot-fixing. It was tough to gel the dressing room but I treated every player accordingly; younger were given affection and some needed to be given fear of the stick. You know our nation runs on the strength of a stick.

But captaincy in Pakistan is a challenge. I was aggressive even off the field. It haunted my earlier stint. I have learnt the lesson though; things should be operated amicably. But my mindset in the field is the same as a leader is the one who should decide the playing XI, he is the one who has to get his boys to fight on the ground. He knows what he wants and he is the one who has to face everything after the match. Whoever is the captain, he should be given ample authority to pick his best players.”

The stick Afridi refers to was very much in evidence when the controversial and temperamental talent recanted his criticism of Misbah.

He clarified later in a statement issued by the Pakistani Cricket Board (PCB):

“Let me state at the very outset, Misbah is the best choice as Pakistan captain for the ICC World Cup 2015. I have always backed him to the optimum whenever I have played under him, just as he had when I had the honour to captain the Pakistan team.

I have said this before, and I reiterate, that I shall continue to serve Pakistan Cricket and fully support Misbah to the best of my ability.

This is my final statement on the issue.”

Ijaz Butt was PCB chief when Afridi was sacked as captain of the T20 and ODI sides in 2011 on disciplinary grounds.

What  Butt really meant:

 “I don’t really like Shahid Afridi. I like Misbah. He’s a lamb. Afridi’s a shark. He should be thrown back into the ocean.”

What he definitely didn’t:

 “You know that we can’t let Afridi go, at least, not until the World Cup’s over. So…”



Virat Kohli: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Virat Kohli does not mind being repeatedly out.

What he said:

“For me it doesn’t matter if I get out playing the same shot again and again, at least I am feeling clear and confident in the mind.”

Virat Kohli is back to his usual cocky self on recovering some semblance of form against the West Indies with a somewhat laboured fifty in the second ODI.

What he really meant:

“I could always eschew the shot, you know. At least, I’m not playing and missing. And hell, my batting’s sure missed by the team and the fans.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Just like it doesn’t matter to me that the arm-chair critics keep harping on my relationship with Anushka Sharma. I am clear and confident in my mind about her.”

English: Anushka Sharma at a Band Baaja Baaraa...
English: Anushka Sharma at a Band Baaja Baaraat press event (Photo credit: Wikipedia)